As the Browns continue to strenuously object to any story suggesting that owner Jimmy Haslam made the call to draft Johnny Manziel, there’s a new report saying the team was just seconds away from selecting Teddy Bridgewater instead.
That report comes from longtime Browns reporter Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, who cites an unnamed source as saying that the Browns filled out a card with Bridgewater’s name on it and were about to hand it in as their official pick in the draft. And then, according to that source, Haslam ordered them to change the name on the card to Johnny Manziel.
The Browns strenuously deny that.
“That is not true,” Browns spokesman Zak Gilbert said. “I was in the draft room. That didn’t happen.”
Browns head coach Mike Pettine told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the report is “beyond laughable.”
And Haslam said General Manager Ray Farmer “made the trade, picked Johnny Manziel. There’s no doubt that Ray makes those calls.”
It’s not hard to believe that Haslam told his football people that he personally preferred Manziel over Bridgewater, but it’s extremely hard to believe that Haslam would wait until the Browns were on the clock and had already written another player’s name on the card to order them to draft Manziel instead. That would be as crazy as taking draft advice from a homeless guy.